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Centaurus High School – Lafayette, CO

Centaurus High School’s Way Cool Student Scientist Report

Emily (teacher): I have been a teacher at Centaurus High School for 7 years. I have been interested in planetary astronomy and Mars since the Viking Landings and Voyager missions during my undergraduate days at Cornell University. My studies have always been very interdisciplinary and include chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and astronomy. These are well suited for my interests in planets and astrobiology. As an undergraduate, I worked on an NSF summer internship studying the types of molecules that can be easily made from a prebiotic atmosphere.

Since that time, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry as an analytical chemist, earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Research included action of anti-tumor compounds with DNA and some AIDS research. With a strong desire to share science with young people, I started teaching high school in 1992 here in Colorado. Currently, I teach chemistry, advanced chemistry and astronomy courses. I lead star viewing nights for my high school classes and community outdoor labs. I have also enjoyed working as an advisor with the Denver Museum of Natural History on the new "Space Odyssey" exhibit, scheduled to open in mid-June.

Mark (student): I am currently a 15-year-old sophomore. At school, I have been on the soccer team and am presently part of the Thespian Troupe as a tech crew chief and an actor. I am also in Centaurus' Pre-Engineering program, a curriculum that prepares students for engineering, which has led me to be part of the robotics team for Centaurus. Aside from school, I am involved in many other activities such as Boy Scouts, where I am a former Senior Patrol Leader of my troop. In my religious studies, I became Bar Mitzvah in 2002, and I will continue to be a camp counselor at a Jewish children's camp. During my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music, playing soccer, running, snowboarding, playing with my dog, role playing games, and video games. I enjoy working with and know a lot about computers. At home, I live with my parents, my two brothers and my dog Nimitz. My dad is an aerospace engineer and my mom is a civil engineer. My younger brother is in middle school. My older brother is an Eagle Scout and currently attends college at the Colorado School of Mines.

I have always been interested in sciences, especially space and astronomy. I heard about this program from my chemistry teacher, Dr. Emily Haynes. Immediately, the program intrigued me and I wanted to get involved. Through application and interview, I was accepted to be on the team. I am excited to be a part of this program. Currently, I have no solid plans for my future in college, but look forward to learning more about space science.

Miranda (student): I am a senior at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colorado. I have always had a real interest in science and space in particular, ever since the fifth grade when I did a science project on the Solar System, which took me to the regional science fair. Then in 6th and 7th grade I did other projects on the Solar System or a few of the moons in the Solar System. In 8th grade, I did a project on wind currents, which also took me to regionals for the second time. This time, each of the projects was judged and I received an award from the National Meteorological Society. I have always been very science oriented. I also have a great interest in engineering, but that didn't tweak my interests till within the past few years.

Next year I will be attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, and will probably major in engineering, maybe aerospace, and also minor in music and/or Spanish. Right now, I am in the National Honor Society as treasurer, and I am a member of LINKS. I am also taking classes like AP Calculus and AP Spanish 5. When I am not doing my homework, I play violin and am concert mistress in the school orchestra, I have also played the piano for 12 years. I also love to spend as much time as I can with my family and friends, especially family. I live with my parents, who are both very helpful and supportive. I also live with my two younger brothers, who also help me if they can, and my dog Tyson. It is a great honor to be a part of this program! This is one of those things that I didn't think would ever happen to me, but now it has and I am very excited and anxious for what ever there is to come.